Mark Weisbrodt writes for MarketWatch about the divide between Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders on Social Security and Medicare. Sanders commands more support from younger voters than Biden by a margin of 47 percent to 13 percent. Curiously, older adults lean Biden over Sanders by a margin of 25 percent to 11%, even though Sanders’ Social Security and Medicare reform proposals are far more beneficial to older adults than Biden’s.
Today, 27 million Americans live above the poverty line because of Social Security. Sanders has advocated to strengthen Social Security since he became a Senator in 1991. Biden has argued for cuts to Social Security since 1984 and as recently as 2013. Biden supported the chained CPI, which would have reduced Social Security benefits.
Only now, with a large cohort of Democrats behind raising Social Security benefits, does Biden support increasing Social Security benefits. But, Biden has historically failed to accept that Social Security can be strengthened easily. Sanders, in sharp contrast, has argued that Social Security can close a longterm and relatively small funding gap.
Older adults also may not realize how much Medicare for All would help them, expanding their benefits and lowering their out-of-pocket costs. Sanders’ Medicare for All bill would be a huge improvement over Medicare today, covering 100 percent of the cost of dental, hearing and vision care as well as long-term services and supports. The typical person with Medicare pays nearly $6,000 a year out-of-pocket for health care, almost 25 percent of average income. With Medicare for All, older adults and people with disabilities would have that money to spend on other things.
Vice President Biden does not plan on improving Medicare benefits at all. His health care plan focuses almost exclusively on helping people who get coverage through the state health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And, his health reform agenda does little to ensure people can afford the deductibles and coinsurance imposed by ACA plans, let alone to rein in costs.
Here’s more from Just Care:
- How Biden, Sanders and Warren’s plans to strengthen Social Security compare
- Older adults will play a big role in 2020 presidential election
- Republicans TRUST Act is designed to gut Social Security and Medicare
- Free local resources to help older adults
- Six tips for keeping your drug costs down if you have Medicare